Batoids: Order Pristiformes:

Sawfishes 6 species

Cladogram of the batoids,
showing the position 
of the sawfishes

Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis microdon)

Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis microdon)

The saw is apparently used to disable or kill small, schooling fishes and dig up buried crabs or bivalves. Pups are born with a membranous sheath over the saw, possibly preventing injury to the mother during birth. The Green Sawfish (Pristis zijsron) of the western Pacific and Indian oceans is the largest species, growing to over 24 feet (7.3 metres) in length longer than the largest known White Shark. Because they live in estuarine and riverine areas that are heavily fished and subject to pollution, many sawfish species are endangered.


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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